Study Will Evaluate New Recycling Opportunities

Nov. 13, 2020
A new study will measure the potential for additional recovery of valuable materials from recycling systems in the Northeast.

A new study set to launch this month will measure the potential for additional recovery of valuable materials from recycling systems in the Northeast. The project will evaluate the potential for additional paper and plastics to be sorted and recycled, helping to reduce waste and make more of post-use resources available for new manufacturing

“America’s plastic makers have set a goal for all plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or recovered in the United States by 2040,” says Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “New business models and improved traditional and advanced recycling technologies are key to helping us achieve our objectives. We look forward to working with Titus MRF Services and the other participants to further study how these technologies can help move recycling forward, particularly for plastics.”

The Northeast Secondary Sortation Project, a partnership between ACC and Titus MRF Services will work with targeted materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont to collect samples of container line residuals, otherwise destined for landfill, and send those materials to Titus for compositional analysis and determination of additional recyclable commodities that could be recovered through secondary sortation.

The project is reportedly the first of its kind on the East Coast. In 2019, The Pacific Northwest Secondary Sortation Project conducted similar testing in Oregon and Washington. Additional materials recovered in a 60-day study included polyethylene, mixed paper, cartons, polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene terephthalate (or PET) bottles and thermoforms. The research concluded that, if implemented at a regional scale, serving the populations of Oregon and Washington, a secondary sortation facility would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 tons per year, equivalent to taking more than 27,600 cars off the road.

“Our mission is to create a pathway for closing the loop for all materials collected for recycling for the benefit of all stakeholders,” says Mike Centers, founder and president of Titus MRF Services. “We hope this project is the first step toward advancing secondary sortation in the Northeast region.”

Data generated from the study will help inform decision-making on methods to enhance recycling, create a more circular economy for plastics and reduce the amount of waste material sent to landfill. Project staff will follow Centers for Disease Control guidance on COVID19 worker protections as well as local and regional public health guidance.

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